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Super-sized vehicles: Ten giants of the transport world
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Another Soviet behemoth is the Zubr-class hovercraft, capable of carrying three tanks or 500 soldiers. They still serve in the navies of Russia, Ukraine and Greece. (US Navy)
In transport design, big often means better. From trucks to helicopters, submarines to rockets, building the largest of all is one of the greatest accolades.
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In 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first powered flight in a plane which measured some 21ft (6m). Little more than 80 years later and Soviet aircraft designers devised an aircraft – the Antonov An-225 Mriya – which measures nearly 280ft (84m) and has a wingspan of nearly 300ft. It’s longer, in fact, than the Wright Flyer’s first flight.

The evolution of transport has put bigger in the same realm as faster – one of the main tenets of design. The Soviet-era Typhoon submarine – designed to launch nuclear missiles while submerged beneath the sea – is more than 48,000 tonnes and measures is longer than one-and-a-half football pitches. The USS Nimitz class aircraft carriers are essentially a floating town, carrying nearly 6,000 people; no wonder they weigh 100,000 tonnes and measures nearly 1,100ft (33m).

BBC Future looks at some of the most sizeable designs in the world of vehicles, including the latest two additions – a new dump truck that can haul 450 tonnes, and is nearly three stories high; and the world’s largest floating vessel completed last week, Shell’s Prelude oil support facility, which weighs more than half-a-million tonnes and is longer than the Empire State building.

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